Side by Side: Paid Family Leave and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
June 14, 2017
Paid Family Leave (PFL) is set to enter a space occupied by other regulations, FMLA most notably. And while the two are intended to provide some of the same protections, PFL takes the basic concept behind FMLA several steps farther.
FMLA, or The Family Medical Leave Act, has been in effect since 1993 when it was enacted to provide 12 weeks of unpaid job protections for eligible employees at covered employers.1 Originally introduced with the recommendation of 6 months of leave, it underwent revisions to ease the burden on employers and make accommodations for the types of businesses that would be affected.2
Until recently, FMLA has been the only piece of legislation that allows employees to take unpaid time off from work for an extended period (12 weeks) without having to fear employer retribution or reduction or discontinuation of health care benefits.3
As the benefits of providing protected time off to care for families has become more apparent in recent years—both economically and socially—many states like California and New Jersey have taken it upon themselves to expand on the protections offered at the federal level by FMLA.4
So where does FMLA end and PFL begin? We’ve illustrated the biggest differences and similarities so you can see how they relate to each other in providing family leave benefits for working Americans.
FMLA was a necessary first step in doing the bare minimum for working families, and while there is still a long way to go, PFL can provide some support for New Yorkers starting as soon as January, 2018.
This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any PFL information as of June 2, 2017, is based on the applicable statutes and may change when Paid Family Leave regulations are issued by the State of New York. Got more questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org